Pelvic Floor Exercises (or… You must have pissed yourself laughing…)

I am going to share a little more about me than I ought to in this post.  (I’ve had a few glasses of wine!) This evening I have realised that the phrase, “you must have pissed yourself laughing” can only have come from a woman…

Yes, I am talking about the lack of pelvic floor muscles I have post baby.  Yes, I do mean that post child an irritating cough or a mis-timed sneeze can have rather worse consequences than it used to, and yes, I am insinuating that “piss yourself laughing” could be rather more literal than it used to be!

To anyone reading this who may be pregnant, or considering becoming so for the first time, please follow the antenatal teacher’s advice and do those rather odd exercises to tense your pelvic floor muscles, it might just make the difference between being able to go to a comedy gig post- child and not!

I recently met up with 3 mates who I used to live with at university. We were once young and carefree, enjoying our late teens and early twenties in pubs, bars and clubs… Now, our discussion as 30 (plus) year olds is rather changed. 3 out of 4 of us have kids and the 3 who do were fervently persuading the 1 without to do pelvic floor exercises right now to save embarrassment later.

When I tweeted about my hate of coughing-fits with post child pelvic floor muscles I received support (I won’t embarrass anyone by saying who this came from!).  In fact, one person suggested that it was a conspiracy – who bothered to do the pelvic floor exercises and therefore who can tell you if they work or not?!

So the question I pose is this – what one thing would you tell a friend who had just become pregnant and why? I would definitely say “for goodness sake do those pelvic-floor exercises, no matter how ridiculous you feel.”  What’s your best piece of advice?

18 comments

  • I would take up running, more fun than pelvic floor excerices, similar effect (have to tense those muscles to run!) and use a few more calories in the process. Having said that in my mid 40’s with 6 kids even running hasn’t been enough!

  • Caroline

    I would urge all mums to realise that babies are not robots and don’t come with a rule book – trust your instincts and throw away the Gina Ford! My little one goes to bed between 9 and 10pm every night and sleeps through. She’s full of beans at 6:30 / 7pm so to put her to bed then would be pointless!

  • Curly Mum

    I second telling them to do the exercises! Feels a bit silly but worth it.

    I would also tell them to trust in their ability to make the right decisions for them and their baby. There are all sorts of guidelines thrown at pregnant women and new parents but naturally the same thing isnt going to work for every family. I wish I had had the confidence when I had my first to seek out what I really thought was best for us.

  • I would tell them to enjoy every minute of it as they grow up very quickly!

  • Annierolo

    Ha!if I remember rightly it was the big plus for having a caesaran: ie.you are 5 times less likely to piss yourself laughing (insert coughing,running etc.) yes I would tell any prospective new mum to regularly exercise her pelvic floor! And then tell us (honestly) did it make any difference or is it a conspiracy. Our first real online clinical trial awaits…..

    X

  • I did them for my first baby. In France you do them with a mid-wife who inserts an electric thing up there. I didn’t do them for the second because I decided they were strong enough, and thankfully I was right.

    My advice would be all the above plus ‘take a pacifier to the hospital’ (in France, that is, we stay in for 5 days). Did for B2 and it saved me!

  • Elizabeth Holdsworth

    I would tell them not to feel guilty if things don’t go according to plan. For my first baby, I planned a natural birth and breast feeding. I got pre-ecampsia, emergency c-section at 30 weeks and formula ( and a tiny bit of my expressed milk). I felt guilty for so long. Now I have a beautiful, bright five year old, and you’d never know the difference :)

  • *puts hand up* I did the exercises! In fact, I’ve been doing them for years, as my mum told me to (after having 5 children, she is somewhat an expert). She said that you can learn to live with stretch marks but if you piss yourself every time you cough/sneeze/laugh then you would regret not doing the exercises EVERY SINGLE DAY. This scared me enough to do them, way before I even thought about having kids! Now, I have to say, I have no problems with that area.

    Although my bumhole now… well, you prob read about that ;D

  • Lol, I share your problem….

    And as for advice, have rudies a lot with your other half as that desire will pass soon, just like wind….

    J x

  • I would recommend the use of moisturiser/ oil to reduce the chances of stretch marks. This may be controversial but as a mum of 3- my tummy is definitely evidence of not taking care of my skin while it was stretching! I know a lot of people will Argue that there is nothing wrong with stretch marks but I can honestly say that I which mine weren’t there!

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  • I’d say moisturise your belly (and sides) every day with Sanctuary Body Butter. I did it religiously and managed to escape pregnancy Scott free of any stretch marks. Amazing.

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